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Variety is the Spice of Life

Uncategorized Jun 24, 2020

Both biologically and preferentially, human beings gravitate towards the often repeated “variety is the spice of life” pledge/axiom/precept. Even though everyone has their idiosyncratic perspectives on just exactly where they will allow variety to actually infiltrate their own life, it is still apparent that no one wants to eat the exact same thing, nor live out the exact same life, everyday. There is a reason why the dystopian structure of the “Groundhog day” life is invoked as a frightful lesson on how to live better. In fact, the common complaint of many modern people, is the monotony and predictability of their lives. To see absence of variety in our lives, is to witness the absence of novelty in our experience. This absence not only produces feelings of anxiety and/or depression, but has consequences for which we should be better armed. 

It should first be noted that obviously not all novelty is good, and should be strived for. If you have never...

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Chair Sirsasana (Headstand)

Uncategorized Jun 23, 2020

As almost an entirely separate class of poses, Inversions offer yet another critical perspective on the topic of wellbeing. In one of the most thorough and indulging technical manuals of the practice of yoga “Anatomy of Hatha Yoga”, David Coulter, Ph.D. explains that inversions provide a salutary effect to the nervous system, not easily accessed in any other posture. 

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) present only within the Central Nervous system (brain & spine), functions as a cushion to prevent traumatic contact with the structures of the cranium and vertebral column during movement, but also as a transport vehicle for the import nutrients, and export of waste products. Dr. Coulter explains that this fluid can become stagnant and suffer a reduction of the necessary role it provides, which inversions stimulate and help restore to better function.

 

In the era of Yoga’s mainstream popularity, illustrations of difficult, and to most people unattainable...

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Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2)-part 1

Uncategorized Jun 19, 2020

There is a reason and deep wisdom as to why most methods of Yoga asana practice have standing poses as one of the cornerstones of their sequencing. More often than not, they are placed toward the beginning of a practice. The administration of focus and strength required to cycle through the various standing poses competently, confers musculoskeletal skill that pervades into the rest of ones life. This is important not to lose sight of, as it is exactly the time that is off of the mat, that constitutes the majority of life. 

Among them are the class of lunges that are collectively referred to as Warrior poses. As with any other posture, the techniques implicit within them are all different from one another, to varying degrees. 

 

The prevalence of Warrior 2’s (Virabhadrasana 2) in many popular practices earns it the respect of anatomical analysis that will safeguard us against unnecessary, and sometimes even irrevocable damage. 

I wanted to address one...

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Right View

Uncategorized Jun 19, 2020

The first step of the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism begins with “Right View/Understanding” (Samma ditthi). It is only when an individual understands how things really are, that evolution and growth can commence.

 

Upon looking at the methods and techniques presented in the great repository of the Yoga Dharma, the inescapable message that is being conveyed points to our one and only valuable resource, our beliefs. A thorough reflection on the movements and behaviors that are expelled by us into the world, would reveal that they do not just emerge out of some nebulous cloud of random mental contents, but are actually reified by the underlying beliefs to which we are anchored. What we believe is what we value, and what we value reinforces our beliefs. We put on our seatbelts in the car because their efficacy in preventing injury has been instrumental in the belief that using them is important. We undertake the practice of Yoga because of the belief that physical...

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Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Uncategorized Jun 17, 2020

There is more than one way to practice Yoga asana. One need only look to see the panoply of the methods/styles that are on offer in the modern world. Many die-hard traditionalists (which I used to be) hold the idea that everything useful in Yoga was discovered and settled on, hundreds, if not even thousands of years ago, and any divergence from it will be to the detriment of the individual. A closer reading of the fundamental tenets of Yoga will however reveal that it is not only compatible with the evolution of its techniques, but quite actually necessary. As the natural world, human society, knowledge undergo a continuous evolution, Yoga also incurs changes and refinements along its timeline.      

The concept of a Restorative Yoga practice is not unfamiliar to most enthusiasts. However, more often than not, it has the reputation of being more on the gentle end of the continuum, as contrasted to the more popular dynamic style of a vinyasa practice. The...

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Sanatana Dharma

Uncategorized Jun 13, 2020
One of the most comforting things about Yoga, is that its entire ensemble of techniques and principles is not manufactured by anyone. It is not a religion nor a belief system. It is simply a codification and synthesis of the laws of the universe, and especially the operation of the human organism. The original name of this Universal Order was “Sanata Dharma” (everlasting law/truth). In the same way that the law of gravity was discovered, the forebearers of this tradition discovered the law by which the human body and mind operated. This is why Yoga works. It does not impose, nor ask us to submit to a dogma that isn’t grounded in the reality and mechanisms of the natural world. It doesn’t even offer any values that we do not already have. The values of a well functioning body, mind, relationships, and society are all intrinsic to humans in the exact same way that avoiding pain is. No one has to talk anybody into the fact that sticking their hand in a fire is...
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Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Uncategorized Jun 10, 2020

The plurality of postures that are enshrined within some of the most common styles of Yoga, have one common denominator among them, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (upward facing dog). Rarely taught as an end in itself, its all too common experience is anything but sustained. Most of the time students breeze through it on the way to some other pose. This common transience of the pose has left much of its mechanical contents relatively undiscovered, and therefore susceptible to some oversights that can actually become pathological over the course of time. 

Two of most common errors of Upward Dog surround the techniques that sentence the Lower back to stress and injury. The reciprocal muscle groups that control the tilt of the pelvis have to be reeducated concomitantly. This means that it is necessary to maintain muscular control in opposing sides of the body, back and front

 

Back:
Protection of the lower back stems from an appropriate use of the legs, mainly the butt muscle....

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The Gift of Dysphoria

Uncategorized Jan 30, 2020

One of the most ironic and fascinating aspects of Yoga, is not so much just the physical and chemical benefits that are derived from its techniques, but the psychological character that is necessary to even be able to apply them. There is a reason that the undertaking of this practice has always been regarded as a discipline. The life that the Yoga Dharma can seem to paint a picture of, is one in which many of the comforts that we have been endeared to, are positioned to be criticized, and even removed from our daily menu. This has its reasons, since the fundamental orientation that people have in life, is to survive by getting an education or acquiring a skill that will help them make the money necessary to do so. This is often times such a long ,and depending on the type of skill\education, arduous process, that it consumes the majority of our attentional bandwidth.

The gravity of this undertaking of health and well-being doesnt surface on our horizon, beyond the formal &...

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Authenticity

Uncategorized Jan 14, 2020

As the New Year is setting in motion, the theme of resolutions and intentions is never more popular and relevant than it is now. There is something very positive and hopeful about the way people aspire to commence their New Year, that seems to be carried with an even stronger force than their birthdays. The very nature of having a resolution provokes something inherently positive and honest in people. No one has a resolution that they’re going to start drinking more alcohol, smoking, being more dishonest, eating less healthy, etc… It also seems to be aligned with what people have had in mind all along. This points to a certain kind of actualization of one’s personal values, that was hitherto either avoided or overshadowed by other priorities. This is why it seems that the concept of “authenticity” becomes invoked with fair regularity, and like so many other thought provoking terms, it is far less often defined and elaborated. Authenticity is a word...

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Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

Uncategorized Dec 30, 2019

   

Utthita Trikonasana/ Triangle pose (pic above) has a reputation that is arguably of such popularity in the modern Yoga world, that it is only preceded by the fame of “Downward Dog.” It’s anatomical and traditional specifications have a broad enough range, that it earns some commentary, in the service of safety. 

It’s benefits are on par with any standing posture, whose profit is measured in the provision of strength and stability to the legs and feet. Collectively referred to as the “lower extremity,” which spans everything from the toes to the hip joint, this family of limbs is the essential base of support to the spine, and therefore everything in our lives made possible by its existence. From the function of sight, to the complex movement patterns found in Yoga, the experiences that we enjoy are processed by the ineffable depth of the Central Nervous System, which is housed within the musculoskeletal matrix of the...

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